Google has just uploaded the factory images and binary drivers for the latest Android 4.4 update on supported devices. Those who have been closely monitoring the source code dumps have also learned what this small but quite significant update is about.
Early this week, Google unrolled Android 4.4.2 just shortly after it announced its 4.4.1 update. Android 4.4.1 was poised to bring a good number of fixes to the rather mediocre Nexus 5 camera performance. Android 4.4.2, on the other hand, was somewhat unexpected and quite small. While the official message says that the update once again improves the Nexus 5 camera experience, the update apparently contains more significant and somewhat worrying changes.
One critical bug that was fixed in the update relates to a denial of service exploit coming from Class 0 or “Flash” SMS messages. This type of messages, commonly used for emergencies, get displayed on the screen immediately. The bug would have allowed senders to swamp a recipient with such messages, which has the potential of drastically affecting the phone’s performance and crash certain components or apps as well.
But probably more noticeable in the source code changes are a few lines that, in effect, hides access to the App Ops manager again. This has actually been done before when Android 4.4 first launched, though third party apps have successfully made it available to users again. It seems, however, that Google doesn’t like end users being able to tweak app permissions in a fine-grained way.
The Android 4.4.2 factory images and binary drivers are now up on Google’s servers for download. Naturally, they’re only available for Nexus devices that have actually received Android 4.4 already, namely, the Nexus 5, the Nexus 4, the Nexus 10, and all variants of the Nexus 7.